Nurturing the Heart of a Child.
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I'm Dr. Barbara Sorrels -  a mom, grandmother, child development specialist, and served as University Professor, Children's Pastor, teacher, and consultant.
When you understand some basics of child development, parenting becomes less mysterious and more wondrous.
As founder of the Institute for Childhood Education, we're helping parents, teachers, & child care facilities create nurturing environments.
Child development is amazing, and a glimpse into the mind of our Creator. I'm here to help you nurture your children, grandchildren, and the kids you care for. Read more →

Podcast #10: 

Attachment is my absolute favorite topic – because it can change your family!

Today we’re talking about “ambivalent  attachment.”    

Listen here: 

 

OR – Listen and subscribe in  iTunes  or  Stitcher

Print this Nurture Notes PDF: Nurture Notes – Dr. Barbara Sorrels – Podcast 10

We love hearing from you!  Please feel free to send us any questions that arise after listening to our podcast and hopefully we can answer yours on a future question and answer podcast!  Email us at nurturingtheheartofachild@gmail.com

Please share this post with your friends!

Krista and Dr. Barbara

This is part four in our series on attachment.  If you missed our prior episodes, we would encourage you to go back and listen to Episodes 5, 7, and 8 to understand what we mean by attachment, what secure attachment looks like.

What are the Characteristics of the parents who are creating an ambivalent child?

Preoccupied and inconsistent

  • Unable to provide the consistency of care children need to thrive
  • Don’t have the emotional resources to consistently meet the needs of the child
  • Often misinterprets the needs of the child and imposes own needs on them
  • Anxious parent
    • insecure in their parenting ability to the point that the baby’s upset only triggers their own anxiety
    • They are unable to soothe the child as they absorb the baby’s dysregulation
  • Preoccupied parent
    • Overwhelmed by life—finances, divorce, 
    • Preoccupied by technology or a job
    • May be holding their child while playing a game on their cell phone or watching TV.
  • Preoccupied with their own needs
    • Role reversal–Look to the child to meet their needs
    • Child feels unprotected
    • Send very mixed messages—sometimes over protective and at others don’t offer comfort
  • Post-partum depression—inconsistent response—instead of looking into a face of joy and delight looks into the face with no affect

What are the characteristics of The  ambivalent child?

  • Does not soothe in the presence of the parent
  • Cries more at one year of age
  • Exaggerated emotion because never sure of attachment figure will respond
  • Child throws temper tantrums
  • Child is  both demanding and clingy—when mom leaves never sure he will get her back so come unglued when she leaves
  • Hard to please—nothing is ever right
  • Wants to be center of attention—tattles, becomes class clown
  • Predicts being the victim of a bully
  • Predicts addictive behaviors
  • Struggles in relationships with peers—wants things their way, on their terms

 

Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to give us a rating and review on iTunes!  Means so much to us!  If you haven’t done that would you mind taking a minute to do so. It really helps other people find our podcast!  –>  iTunes  

 


 

New book for parents!

Nurturing Healthy Attachment: Building Parent-Child Connections to Last a Lifetime

Pre-Order paperback here

 


 

I just returned from leading a wonderful two-day program, (see below) where I helped teachers and childcare workers understand how to help children who have experienced trauma.

If your community or church would like to host a seminar on trauma, parenting, or any other child development topic, please contact me and let’s discuss.

Continuing education credit is available for some topics. 

 

 


Order my new book, Nurturing Healthy Attachment!

Pre-Order here

 

 

 

 

Podcast #9: 

 

Listen here: 

OR – Listen and subscribe in  iTunes  or  Stitcher

 

Here is the story we talked about briefly but wanted to share the video here: 

Bob and Barbara : A Legacy of Love, Grief, and Perseverance from April Kirby on Vimeo.

 

We love hearing from you!  Please feel free to send us any questions that arise after listening to our podcast and hopefully we can answer yours on a future question and answer podcast!  Email us at nurturingtheheartofachild@gmail.com

Please share this post with your friends!

Krista and Dr. Barbara


New book for parents!

Nurturing Healthy Attachment: Building Parent-Child Connections to Last a Lifetime

Pre-Order paperback here

 


 


I just returned from leading a wonderful two-day program, (see below) where I helped teachers and childcare workers understand how to help children who have experienced trauma.

If your community or church would like to host a seminar on trauma, parenting, or any other child development topic, please contact me and let’s discuss.

Continuing education credit is available for some topics. 

 

 

 

Public schools can be wonderful places for our children to learn and grow. My daughters had good experiences there, and I have many friends who are excellent, caring teachers. 

But I do not think things are moving in the right direction, overall. 

Recently, the local school district in my city released the results of standardized tests.  The scores  were abysmally low.

And so the conversation resumes…same song, second verse…over and over again. “We need more rigorous standards…more testing…more accountability.”

You would think that over the past two decades of suffering under No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and other misguided initiatives intended to improve education we would have realized by now that it isn’t about more rigorous standards and more testing.

It’s about children. Period. So instead of measuring symptoms, let’s get to some of the root causes of failure in schools.

We live in a child illiterate culture. 

We have forgotten what children are like, how they learn and how their hearts and minds develop.

I often use the analogy that teachers are a lot like football players. I can think of no other professions where people who have never done your job want to tell you how to do it. Armchair quarterbacking takes place in living rooms all over the country. Everyone knows what the quarterback should have done to win the game and everyone has an opinion about the coach–even if they’ve never stepped foot on a football field.

It is the same with teachers. Who is it that sets the standards for education? Politicians, businessmen and academics—people who have never worked with children and never studied child development and education.

I read a blog this week by a mathematician who was on the national committee to identify common core standards. He was lamenting what he perceives as the low expectations in schools. It was obvious that he knows math but he knows nothing about children and how they think—especially young ones.

Here’s the scary part. Those who don’t know how kids develop and learn are often the ones who set the expectations. Those who do know are expected to keep quiet and follow the rules.

We no longer live in culture of well-nurtured children. 

 Traditional models of schooling are based on the belief that we have well nurtured children sitting in classrooms. We assume that by the time children enter kindergarten or first grade they have the capacity to function and learn in a group setting. We assume that they are able to focus and pay attention for an age-appropriate amount of time, manage their impulses to a reasonable degree, share, take turns, manage daily transitions throughout the school day and complete a task.

If you are a teacher or a childcare provider, you know this is no longer the case.

The word “nurture” means effectively meeting children’s developmental needs at optimum time frames in their development. We currently live in a culture where children are expected to adapt to the needs of adults rather than adults adapting their lifestyle to meet the needs of the child. The outcome is a generation of children whose most basic needs have not been met.

Change is never easy but one step parents can take is to gain some understanding of child development and what their needs are at different ages and stages in the developmental process.

We have decades of brain research that is largely being ignored. 

By the time a child reaches four years of age, the brain is 90% of it’s adult size, most of the organization of the brain has taken place and a significant amount of the structure of the brain has been established. Children enter into formal schooling with a brain that has already been customized to function in the environment in which they live.

You see the problem now, don’t you? One size does not fit all as the standardistos would like for you to believe.

Never before in our history do we have such a variety of “brains” sitting in a classroom. The child who has been read to every night sits next to the child who never saw a book until he came to school. The child who goes to bed in the security of a safe and loving home sits next to the child who just immigrated from a war torn country and spent the first years of life living in terror. The child whose mom and dad are on the sidelines at every sporting event and activity sits next to the child whose parents never attend.

Maybe they don’t read to their kids or attend events because they work two jobs or have serious health issues. But in some cases they’re not present because they are hooked on both legal and illegal drugs. But regardless of the cause, the child suffers, the classroom suffers and our communities suffer.

It’s about relationships. 

We have known for decades that in order for children to thrive and learn they need a “secure base” that fuels their psychological “tank” to venture out and explore the world.

They need to know that someone “has my back” and has unconditional positive regard and love for them. They need secure relationships–first at home and also at school. You can’t cram thirty kids in a classroom and expect teachers to get to know them in a meaningful way.

Schools and legislators need to understand it’s about relationships. We can’t afford not to fund additional staffing to reduce class sizes.  Without relationships learning will suffer.

It’s about trauma. 

 Until we address the trauma issue we will never make educational progress with our children.

Trauma changes children’s brains in ways that impact learning, behavior and daily functioning. According to research by Child Trends, 46% of all children across the United States have at least one identifiable “adverse childhood experience.” Some would argue that this statistic is low.  The effects of abuse and profound neglect are obvious. But we also have to acknowledge the toxic effects of divorce, incarceration, poverty, domestic violence, community violence, mental illness, medical trauma, abandonment and foster care.

It is ultimately our children who bear the brunt of a culture that has lost it’s moorings.

We need trauma informed communities that understand the toxic effects of trauma on children and the ultimate effects on schools, communities, churches, families and the culture at large.

It’s about technology. 

 Technology has atrophied children’s attention spans.

In a virtual world time is compressed, creating a fast moving, fantastical environment unlike that of reality. Screen time creates biological changes in children that cause them to react rather than think. The real world of classroom life moves at a much slower pace—as it should–because learning to think, problem solve and create takes time.

In our convenience oriented culture smart phones, tablets and computers have become babysitters at home and at school.

Technology has created a generation of preoccupied parents. Dr. Bruce Perry, internationally recognized expert in brain development says, “The immature brain requires the full presence of a more organized brain to organize.”   Very few children today enjoy the benefit of the full presence of mom or dad for any significant length of time.

Thinking that we will improve the education of our children with more rigorous standards and more formal assessments makes about as much sense as believing we will cure cancer by setting higher performance standards for doctors and running more tests.

It’s not rocket science…it’s common sense. And if there is one thing our kids need more of is common sense.


(Something else our kids need is secure attachment. Listen to my podcast on the subject here,

and pre-order my new book here